Expo 58, by Jonathan Coe

Civil servant Thomas Foley is dispatched to Expo 58 in Belgium, ostensibly to support the Britannia pub which has been constructed as a representation of British culture. But there are more covert forces at work, who need Foley's help in keeping an eye on a suspected espionage operation.

I had been pretty disappointed with Coe's last book and although this isn't a great one, it is quite a bit better than that was. It feels a bit of a slight work, compared to What a Carve Up! but it was quite nicely done and quite funny in parts - e.g. when Foley's told to sit on a park bench reading p29 of the newspaper. When his contact turns up, he's cross - "you're reading page 27, it should have been page 29"; "but there isn't a page 29".

The end felt a bit rushed - the main story ended and then there was a very quick summary of the years going by until the final episode in 2000-and-something. There were quite a few pages of acknowledgements at the end, and so there wasn't quite enough "tell-tale compression of the pages" to let me know that the story was about to end.

On the whole I thought this was good and would be worth reading again.

Completed : 26-Oct-2013

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